Speed Reading — Ukraine Crisis - Level 3 — 100 wpm

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Germany has announced it has closed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that was due to transport natural gas from Russia to Europe. It did this because of Russia's actions in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent countries. President Putin claimed the Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic were separate nations. Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz said: "In light of the most recent developments, we must reassess the situation…regarding Nord Stream 2." He warned that Europe faced "difficult hours," and that, "almost 80 years after the end of the Second World War, we might see a new war in Eastern Europe".

Nord Stream 2 is a 1,200-km-long pipeline that runs under the Baltic Sea. Closing it is one of many sanctions that Western nations have made against Russia. The United Kingdom announced the first of its sanctions after Mr Putin said troops could enter the two rebel-held regions of eastern Ukraine. The U.K. will freeze the assets of five Russian banks and three Russian billionaires (who have also been given travel bans). U.S. President Joe Biden has said the USA would announce sanctions soon. Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said Russia was not planning to invade Ukraine. He told reporters: "No one is planning to send anything anywhere. If there is a threat, then we will provide assistance."

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